US7755506B1 - Automation and theater control system - Google Patents

Automation and theater control system Download PDF

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US7755506B1
US7755506B1 US10934115 US93411504A US7755506B1 US 7755506 B1 US7755506 B1 US 7755506B1 US 10934115 US10934115 US 10934115 US 93411504 A US93411504 A US 93411504A US 7755506 B1 US7755506 B1 US 7755506B1
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Prior art keywords
station
controller
ir
dni
integrated
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US10934115
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Paul T. Clegg
Jared Meiners
Scott C. Losee
Douglas E. Allen
Michelle Chatterton
Jared T. Lemke
James Beagley
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Legrand Home Systems Inc
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Legrand Home Systems Inc
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08CTRANSMISSION SYSTEMS FOR MEASURED VALUES, CONTROL OR SIMILAR SIGNALS
    • G08C23/00Non-electrical signal transmission systems, e.g. optical systems
    • G08C23/04Non-electrical signal transmission systems, e.g. optical systems using light waves, e.g. infra-red
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08CTRANSMISSION SYSTEMS FOR MEASURED VALUES, CONTROL OR SIMILAR SIGNALS
    • G08C17/00Arrangements for transmitting signals characterised by the use of a wireless electrical link
    • G08C17/02Arrangements for transmitting signals characterised by the use of a wireless electrical link using a radio link
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08CTRANSMISSION SYSTEMS FOR MEASURED VALUES, CONTROL OR SIMILAR SIGNALS
    • G08C2201/00Transmission systems of control signals via wireless link
    • G08C2201/40Remote control systems using repeaters, converters, gateways

Abstract

An integrated controller for complete automation with the ability to control electrical devices through both RF transmission and IR transmissions. In one illustrative embodiment, the integrated controller comprises an antenna for two-way communication with stations located throughout a structure. Each station may control the power supply to an attached electrical device. The buttons on the station may control any electrical device on the system through RF transmission with the integrated controller. The integrated controller also may comprise an IR receiver and at least one IR output. The IR receiver may receive signals from a remote and pass them through to a device, such as a device used in a home theater system, with a built in IR receiver via the IR output. In this manner, the integrated controller is capable of providing complete in home automation.

Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/500,066, filed Sep. 3, 2003, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety, including but not limited to those portions that specifically appear hereinafter, the incorporation by reference being made with the following exception: In the event that any portion of the above-referenced provisional application is inconsistent with this application, this application supercedes said above-referenced provisional application.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable.

BACKGROUND

1. The Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to building automation systems, and more particularly, but not necessarily entirely, to automation systems for buildings and small theaters.

2. Background Art

Home automation and building automation are fairly new terms. Such terms now refer to combining many separately operated subsystems such as lighting, appliances, HVAC, security, audio/video, alarm, surveillance and climate control into one or more integrated central controllers. These central controllers can be built into a wall or many walls, or can be a stand alone units. The controllers may be used to control virtually every electrical device in a house. While such systems will be referred to herein as “home automation” systems, and other suitable terminology, it is to be understood that automation systems which can be implemented in many different types of buildings and structures, including residential and commercial buildings, is intended to fall within the scope of such terminology.

By combining many different systems into one or more control interfaces, extra control boxes are eliminated. For example, a home owner may add a one-stop control button at the garage door called “goodbye” that will turn off the house lights, stereo system, turn down the heat and arm the alarm system. Over time, the efficiency of a home automation system can save a home owner time and money.

Home automation has become very popular for both newly constructed homes and for existing homes. Newly constructed homes can be wired to facilitate home automation. Existing homes must use wireless communication in most instances since the wiring for home automation is not present. Of course, an existing home could be re-wired, but this would be cost prohibitive.

As mentioned above, most home automation systems generally comprise one or more controllers. The controllers may be wired to a communication network or may use wireless connections. The controllers contain the programming required to orchestrate complex commands. The controllers typically receive commands from remote locations through the use of keypads, sensors, touchscreen displays from throughout a house. The controllers may also have the ability to receive commands from manually actuated buttons located directly on the controllers. The controllers may be connected to a computer for programming through a communication port.

While existing controllers have been somewhat successful in reducing the number of controls for subsystems, in the past, an existing home owner would have to purchase multiple controllers for complete home automation. This situation is most often encountered where an existing home owner wants to automate a home, i.e. the entire house, and a home theater. The need for separate controllers is primarily due to the fact that previously available devices have not been able to accommodate into one integrated controller the features and functionality necessary to automate a whole house and a home theater due to the unique and specialized nature of each situation. Each of these will be explained briefly below.

First, in order to retrofit an existing home, a controller is installed a central location. The controller has an antenna for two way communication with a series of stations located throughout the house. Each individual station may in turn be connected to a power supply and an electrical device. Each station may control power to the electrical device to which it is connected. Further, each station has an antenna for two way communication with the controller. Buttons on each station or on other devices situated throughout the house may be programmed to control any electrical device on the system. Thus, the wireless communication between the controller and the stations require no new wiring thus eliminating the need for cutting holes and fishing wires in the house.

The radio frequency on which the stations and the controller communicate vary according to the requirements set by regulating authorities. The stations may also have one or more status lights to indicate whether power is currently being supplied to the electrical device controlled by a button on that station. One example of a controller previously available for controlling home lighting and other electrical devices for an entire house is the C-BOX™ with RADIOLINK™ controller available from Vantage Controls, Inc. located in Orem, Utah.

Next, as explained above, a specialized type of controller has been needed in the past to control a home theater. Home theater can mean different things to different people depending on the budget involved. A home theater may be a simple system located in a living room that includes a surround sound audio video receiver with several location specific speakers, a television and a few source components like a DVD player and satellite receiver. A home theater may also mean a dedicated room specifically designed and built for enhanced acoustics and the ultimate theater experience down to the velvet drapes and popcorn machine. In general, however, a home theater comprises primarily an audio/video receiver, a television, speakers, and one or more sources of audio and/or video (such as a VCR, DVD Player, Digital Satellite, CD Player, etc.).

A controller for home theater automation provides almost every connection for a home theater control and offers enough installation flexibility to exchange equipment without the worry of having the appropriate interface. However, presently available home theater controllers have not included an antenna for two way communication with stations located throughout the house. In this regard, previously available home theater controllers have been lacking.

An example of a controller previously available for automating a home theater system and all its related peripheral devices is the THEATREPOINT™ controller available from Vantage Controls, Inc. located in Orem, Utah.

In the past, stations had to be manufactured for distinct ranges of voltages depending on the power supply available in various locals across the world. It has not been known previously to have a universal station, both wireless and wired, that can plug into most ranges of voltages used throughout the world.

It has also been a problem in the past to arrive at a cost effective solution when installing stations for three-way and four way-switches lighting control switches during retrofitting for home automation. A three-way or four-way switch allows an electrical device to be controlled from two or more locations and is well known in the art. It is often cost prohibitive or at least wasteful to install a standard station with the ability to communicate via RF with a central controller at every wall box for a three-way or four-way switch. Unsatisfactory solutions to this problem have been attempted, but the result was lacking, in that while a station with limited functionality has been developed, the buttons on these station lack the functionality of the buttons located on a standard station. In particular, this included not being able to display the status of a load controlled by a station through a status indicator.

Despite the advantages of known home automation systems, improvements are still being sought. For example, as described above, many of the existing home automation systems require multiple controllers for complete home automation, i.e. whole house lighting and home theater, especially if an existing home is being retrofitted. Multiple controllers are undesirable due to the increased price and footprints. It would be advantageous to eliminate the need for multiple controllers.

Further, despite attempts to overcome disadvantages for automating three-way and four-way switches during a retrofit, significant need for improvement still remains. For example, a satellite station is needed that has the full functionality of a standard station, including status indicators.

Lastly, a universal station is needed that can be used with most of the power supplies available throughout the world.

The previously available devices are thus characterized by several disadvantages that are addressed by the present invention. The present invention minimizes, and in some aspects eliminates, the above-mentioned failures, and other problems, by utilizing the methods and structural features described herein.

The features and advantages of the invention will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by the practice of the invention without undue experimentation. The features and advantages of the invention may be realized and obtained by means of the instruments and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from a consideration of the subsequent detailed description presented in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a components useful in carrying out the embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates one illustrative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates an integrated controller pursuant to one illustrative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3A illustrates another embodiment of an exemplary controller.

FIG. 3B illustrates another embodiment of an exemplary controller.

FIG. 4 illustrates a wiring diagram for one illustrative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates a schematic for one illustrative embodiment of a master station.

FIG. 6 illustrates a schematic for one illustrative embodiment of a slave station.

FIG. 7 illustrates a schematic for a one illustrative embodiment of a universal power supply.

FIG. 8 illustrates a schematic for a second illustrative embodiment of a universal power supply.

FIG. 9A is a table of components for FIGS. 9B-9D.

FIGS. 9B-9D illustrate schematics for an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 10A-10D illustrate schematics for an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 11A-11C illustrate schematics for an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 12A and 12B illustrate schematics for an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 13A-13F illustrate schematics for an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 14A-14C illustrate schematics for an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

For the purposes of promoting an understanding of the principles in accordance with the invention, reference will now be made to the embodiments illustrated in the drawings and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended. Any alterations and further modifications of the inventive features illustrated herein, and any additional applications of the principles of the invention as illustrated herein, which would normally occur to one skilled in the relevant art and having possession of this disclosure, are to be considered within the scope of the invention claimed.

It must be noted that, as used in this specification and the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” “an,” and “the” include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. In describing and claiming the present invention, the following terminology will be used in accordance with the definitions set out below.

As used herein, “comprising,” “including,” “containing,” “characterized by,” and grammatical equivalents thereof are inclusive or open-ended terms that do not exclude additional, unrecited elements or method steps.

Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown components available in the industry which have application with embodiments of the present invention. Central controllers 10 are wireless controllers with RF connections to the surrounding stations 12 which are in turn connected to one or more loads 14. The central controllers 10 each comprise an antenna 11. The loads 14 may include lights, lamps, fans, pumps, motors, and other electrical devices found in a home. The central controllers 10 may also communicate with third party equipment 18, such as phones, computers, and keypads, through a wireless device 16, such as a RS-232 wireless connector.

A home theater controller 20 is also shown in FIG. 1. This is a separate unit from the central controllers 10. The home theater controller 20 communicates with theater system components 22 via IR emitter cable 21. Home theater system components 22 typically have an IR receiver (not shown) built in. The home theater controller 20 passes through signals received from remotes 26 to the theater system components 22 via the IR emitter cable 21. The remotes 26 may be programmed so that they can control the various home theater system components 22. In addition, the home theater controller 20 may also control other devices 24 such as shades and blinds. For example, the home theater controller 20 may close shade and blinds when a movie starts.

As can be seen, central controllers 10 and the home theater controller 20 are separate units.

Referring now to FIG. 2, there is shown an integrated controller 100 for controlling electrical devices 14 and theater system components 22 in accordance with the principles of one embodiment of the present invention. The integrated controller 100 comprises an antenna 110, infrared receiver 112 and at least one infrared output 114. Each of these components will be described below.

The antenna 110 on the integrated controller 100 is capable of two-way communication with each station 12, each of which may also have an antenna (not generally shown), through RF transmissions. Each station 12 is connected to a power supply (not shown) and one or more loads 14, such as, for example, a light. Each station 12 may comprise a keypad having buttons. Each button may be programmed to control any load 14 on the system. The integrated controller 100 broadcasts an RF control signal through its antenna 110 which is received by each of the stations 12. An individual station 12 will process the RF control signal if it is directed to the load to which the station 12 is connected. The station 12 may have a relay, traic or other device to control the power from the power supply (not shown) to the load(s) 14.

The buttons on any one station 12 can be programmed to control any electrical device connected to any other station 12. When a button of a station 120 is pressed, it sends an RF control signal to the integrated controller 100. Pursuant to its preassigned function programmed into the integrated controller 100, the integrated controller 100 broadcasts a second RF control signal to the appropriate station 12, connected to the load(s) 14 desired to be controlled. The appropriate station 12 receives the signal and processes it as dictated.

In a typical installation, stations 12 can be positioned throughout an entire house to control virtually all of the lighting and other electrical devices. In this manner, any station can control any load 14 connected to any other station 12. It will be appreciated that this constitutes automation.

The IR receiver 112 on the integrated controller 100 receives IR signals from remotes 26. Generally, the integrated controller 100 passes the IR signals through to a theater system component 22. One way of passing the IR signals through is by using an IR output 114 and an IR emitter cable 136. The IR signal is passed through the IR emitter cable 136 to the IR receiver (not shown) on the appropriate theater system component 22. A theater system component 22 may be, without limitation, a DVD player, VCR, television, projector, amplifier or other device having a built in IR receiver. The theater system component 22 may in turn be connected to a second electrical device (not shown) such as a television, amplifier or speakers.

It will be appreciated that the integrated controller 100 can have one IR output 114 or a plurality of IR outputs 114 (not explicitly shown) thereby allowing the integrated controller 100 to pass through IR signals to one or more theater system components 22 or any other device having an IR receiver.

Typically, the remotes 26 comprise a plurality of buttons. The integrated controller 100 or the remotes 26 can be programmed such that each button on the remotes 26 can control any function on the theater system components 22. It will be appreciated that this allows the remotes 26 to control multiple theater system components 22. Further, the theater system components 22 can be placed in a location where it could not receive IR signals directly. This is often desired in the home theater setting to hide the theater system components 22. In addition, the buttons on the remotes 26 may be programmed to be able to control any load(s) 14 connected to any station 12. Likewise, any button on any station 12 may be programmed to control any theater system component 22 through the IR output 114.

FIG. 3 illustrates an integrated controller 100A comprising an antenna 110A an IR receiver 112A and at least one IR output 114A. The antenna 110A may provide two-way communication with stations (not shown), as previously described, to control loads (not shown). Likewise, the IR receiver 112A may receive IR signals from remotes (not shown) to control theater system components (not shown) via the at least one IR output 114A. Additional components can be incorporated into the integrated controller 100A in varying combinations to create many other embodiments of the present invention. These components, each of which will be discussed in detail below, can be added separately or together in any combination. Further, each component can be added in multiples of itself, such as 2, 3, or more of any single component.

A communications port 140, such as, for example, an RS-232 port, can be incorporated into the integrated controller 100A. The communications port 140 allows a computer (not shown) to be connected to the integrated controller 100A. Software running on the computer allows all of the functionality and commands to be programmed into the integrated controller 100A. The software should provide a graphical user interface to facilitate the programming of the integrated controller 100A. Also, a transmitter, such as a wireless RS-232 link, can be plugged into the communications port 140 allowing wireless two-way communication with products such as, for example, security systems, audio/video, pool controls, draperies, and fountains.

A low voltage latching relay 150 may be incorporated into the integrated controller 100A. The low voltage relay 150 provides relay channels for sending contact closures to devices such as shades and blinds (not shown). The low voltage latching relay 150 can for example activate a motor thereby closing or opening a shade or blind.

A current sensing outlet 160 may also be incorporated into the integrated controller 100A. The current sensing outlet 160 senses when an electrical device (not shown) that is plugged into the outlet 160 is drawing current. The integrated controller 100A can be programmed to conduct specified operations upon sensing a change of state in the current sensing outlet 160. For example, the integrated controller 100A can be programmed to dim lights or turn other electrical devices on when it senses that power to an electrical device (not shown) plugged into the outlet 160 is turned on.

A contact input 170 may also be incorporated into the integrated controller 100A. The contact input 170 receives data from third party devices. These include, without limitation, devices such as probes, sensors, door contacts, stress sensors, magnetic contact switches, momentary switches, light sensors, temperature sensors and other sensory inputs. The integrated controller 100A can be programmed to carry out specified functions upon receiving data through the contact inputs 170.

A station bus 180 may also be incorporated into the integrated controller 100A. The station bus 180 allows communication with other devices (not shown) using wire. The other devices may be connected to the station bus in a daisy chain, star and/or branch configuration. The integrated controller 100A can send or receive control signals through the station bus. The other devices may include other controllers, keypads, dimmers, relays, LCD touchscreens, or any other device capable of being connected to a network.

An LCD display 190 may also be incorporated into the integrated controller 100A. The LCD display 190 allows information to be displayed to a user. The LCD display 190 may be used to program as well as monitor the status of the integrated controller 100A. Any number of human actuable switches 192 can also be incorporated into the integrated controller 100A. The switches 192 allow commands to be carried out by the integrated controller 100A. Also a menu can be displayed on the LCD display 190 which can be controlled by the switches 192. The menu can allow a user to select diagnosis and status routines.

An IR channel indicator 200 (ten are shown but any number allowable) can also be incorporated into the integrated controller 100A. The IR channel indicators 200 display when data is being sent through a corresponding IR output 114. The IR channel indicators 200 may comprise an LED that turns on or flashes when data is being transmitted through a corresponding IR output 114. This allows trouble shooting as well as visual verification of signal transmission.

IR inputs 210 can also be incorporated into the integrated controller 100A. The IR inputs 210 allow for external IR receivers (not shown) which are commercially available to be added to the integrated controller 100A.

In addition to the above components being added in any combination, the integrated controller 100A may be configured to track both real and astronomical time. The integrated controller 100A may include a battery backup.

Another illustrative embodiment of the present invention is an integrated controller comprising an antenna for sending and receiving RF control signals from a plurality of stations and at least one low voltage latching relay.

Still another illustrative embodiment of the present invention is an integrated controller comprising an antenna for sending and receiving RF control signals from a plurality of stations and at least one current sensing outlet.

Still yet another illustrative embodiment of the present invention is an integrated controller comprising an antenna for sending and receiving RF control signals from a plurality of stations and at least one contact input.

Still yet another illustrative embodiment of the present invention is an integrated controller comprising an antenna for sending and receiving RF control signals from a plurality of stations and at least one IR input for connecting an external infrared receiver.

Still yet another illustrative embodiment of the present invention is an integrated controller comprising an antenna for sending and receiving RF control signals from a plurality of stations and 12 IR outputs, 1 internal IR receiver, 2 IR inputs for attaching external IR receivers, two communication ports, six low voltage relays, six current sensing outlets, a bus port, and six contact inputs.

Still yet another illustrative embodiment of the present invention includes an integrated controller comprising an antenna for sending and receiving RF control signals from a plurality of stations and 12 IR outputs, 1 internal IR receiver, 2 IR inputs for attaching external IR receivers, two communication ports, six low voltage relays, a bus port and twelve contact inputs. It will be appreciated that embodiments of the present invention can include many a different number of input/output structures, for example the number of IR inputs can advantageously be increased to 6 or more.

It will be appreciated that the present invention can control a wide range of electrical devices common to both whole home automation and home theater automation in response to signals received from a variety of different sources. Some of these sources, listed without limitation, include keypads, stations, RF and IR signals, remotes, sensors, time controls, networks, touchscreens, can all be used to actuate both loads and theater system components of all types connected to an integrated controller, either directly or remotely (via wireless communication).

It will be further appreciated that the present invention comprises a combination of features that allows for home automation as well as home theater automation that was in the past contained in separate controllers. The present invention provides an integrated controller eliminating the need to purchase multiple controllers.

FIG. 3A illustrates a front and a back view of a controller pursuant to one embodiment of the present invention. An LCD display 220 is used by the controller to output messages. Buttons 222 are used in combination with the LCD display. Exit Button 224 is used to exit programming. IR-Input 226 is used to receive IR signals. IR channel indicators 228 indicate when a specific channel is being used. Indicators 230 show when the RS-232 channels are being used. Reset button 232 resets the system.

Plug 244 accepts a power cord for supplying power to the controller. Current monitored outlets 242 and contact inputs 234 are on the back of the controller. Infrared emitters 236 are also on the back of the controller. Relay outputs 238, IR Inputs and Ports 246 are also on the back of the controller. Bus connector 240 is on the back as well.

FIG. 3B illustrates a front and a back view of a controller. An LCD display 250 is used by the controller to output messages and accept user input. Buttons 252 are used in combination with the LCD display 250. Exit Button 254 is used to exit programming and menus. IR-Input 255 is used to receive IR signals. IR channel indicators 256 indicate when a specific channel is being used. Indicators 258 show when the RS-232 channels are being used.

Plug 268 accepts a power cord for supplying power to the controller. Contact inputs 266 are on the back of the controller. Infrared emitters 260 are also on the back of the controller. Relay outputs 264, IR Inputs 270 and Ports 272 are also on the back of the controller. Bus connector 240 is on the back as well.

FIG. 4 illustrates the use of a slave station 300 with a master station 302 in a retrofit situation to replace two or more standard switches controlling a single load. These are commonly referred to as three-way or four-way switches. The use of a slave station 300 in this situation is advantageous in that it is more cost effective than using a second master station 302. A general overview of the master station 302 and slave station 300 is provided below.

The master station 302 connects to a controller (not shown) via RF to form part of a network used for home automation. It is typically available in a one gang, one load configuration. It may be ganged with other stations, without any limitation as to the number of gangs. It may be powered via a local line feed, and communicates with a controller solely through RF transmissions.

Before the master station 302 is programmed, or if communication is lost, the master station 302 may function in a default mode as an independent dimmer. Any load on the master station 302 may be controlled by any other keypad, IR input, RS-232 or timed event, etc. via the controller and RF transmissions. A master station 302 may have multiple keypad buttons (not shown), and an optional internal IR receiver (not shown).

The master station 302 connects to a slave station 300 for multiple switch scenarios, such as 3-Way/4-Way switch scenarios. The slave station 300 may comprise one or more buttons. Both the buttons on the slave station 300 and the master station 302 may have an associated status indicator. The status indicator may be an LED. The status indicator can be programmed to indicate when there is power to the load controlled by a particular button.

The slave station 300 may be ganged with other stations or switches. The slave station 300 may be powered via the local line feed, and communicates with the controller through the traveler wires in the wiring loop with the master station 302 and the load. Since the wiring loop may be different depending on how the original switches were wired (see FIG. 4) it will be appreciated that this communication can occur for various wiring situations. In simple terms, the slave station 300 utilizes the master station 302 for communication with the controller.

In addition, before the buttons on the slave station 300 are programmed, or if communication is lost, it functions in default mode, remotely controlling the load that it is connected to. Once a button is programmed on the slave station 300, it can perform any operation that the standard master station 302 supports. The operation of the buttons on a slave station 300, as well as a master station, may be programmed at the controller.

It will be appreciated that the master station 302 and the slave station 300 both contain circuitry to engage in two-way communication over the traveler wires in the wiring loop and requires no new wiring which is ideal for a retrofit situation. The two-way communication over the traveler wires allows the slave station 300 to retain the full functionality of any other station on the system. A button on the slave station 300 may operate any load connected to any station on the system through the master station 302, since the slave station 300 does not have the capability to communicate with the controller directly via RF transmissions. In addition, the status of that load can be indicated at the slave station 300.

The steps for installing the master station 302 and slave station 300 are as follows. Determine the 3-way wiring scenario used before placing and connecting the master station 302 and slave station 300. Two common scenarios are shown in FIG. 4. Other variations are possible. Turn the circuit breaker off and make sure no voltage is present. Before turning the circuit breaker on, check to see that all connections are correct. In its standard configuration, the master station 302 is connected to neutral. If operation without Neutral is required, a “NO NEUTRAL” master station 302 and “NO NEUTRAL” slave station 300 can be used.

It should be noted that one master station 302 can be connected with a plurality of slave stations 300. Each button on the slave stations 300 having the same capability as any button on the master station 302. The buttons on the slave stations 300 can be programmed through the controller to operate any other device controlled by the system.

The buttons on the slave station 300 have a status indicator, usually an LED display, to indicate if there is power to the load to which the buttons control. It will be appreciated that this is an improvement over the prior art. The slave station 300 receives control signals via the master station 302, which is in RF communication with the controller. It will be appreciated that this provides a low cost solution instead of having a fully configured station mounted in every wall box for a multiple switch scenario. A slave station 300 is cheaper to manufacture since it does not have the ability to communicate directly with the controller via RF, but instead does so through a master station 302.

It should also be noted that for purposes of this invention, the term wiring loop refers to the wiring “loop” used to control any electrical device from more than one location as is well known in the art. It should also be noted that the slave station 300 and the master station 302 can work with any controller that is capable of sending and receiving RF signals, but can also operate with an integrated controller as described above.

Referring now to FIG. 5, there is shown a schematic of one embodiment of a master station 302. Table 1, below, is a parts lists corresponding to the schematic shown in FIG. 5.

TABLE 1
Qt Reference Description
1 Q1 DUAL NPN TRANSISTOR (3904)
2 R3 R6 0603 RESISTOR 5% 4.7k OHM
1 R8 0603 RESISTOR 5% 2.2k OHM
1 R7 0603 RESISTOR 5% 15 OHM
1 D4 DIODE, SM SOD123 BAS16
1 WIRE1 Black Wire 18 AWG
1 WIRE2 BLUE WIRE 18 AWG
1 J1 7-pin 2mm connector
1 TH1 TRIAC, TO-220 PACKAGE
1 U1 OPTO-ISOLATOR, 4-PIN, SM
1 U3 SM LOW POWER OFF-LINE SWITCHER
1 U2 +5 V LOW DROPOUT REGULATOR, S0T-223
1 TVS2 350 v BIDIRECTIONAL TVS
1 TVS1 91 V TVS, Through Hole
1 C4 0805 CAPACITOR .1 UF
1 C1 CAPACITOR, SM C 22 uF
1 C2 CAPACITOR, SM D 22 uF
1 C5 .1 uF 275AC SAFETY TYPE 2 CAPACITOR
1 C6 1 uF 400 V 10% POLYESTER UNCOATED
CAPACITOR
1 R4 RESISTOR SM 1206 (optional)
1 R2 RESISTOR, 1/10 W 0805 470 Ohm
1 R5 RESISTOR, ⅛ W 1206 150K
1 R9 RESISTOR, SM 0805 51 Ohm
1 L1 26 uH 18AWG CHOKE
1 X1 FLYBACK TRANSFORMER
1 S1 SPST 13A switch
2 D1-2 DIODE, SM 4937
1 Z2 ZENER DIODE SOD123 6.2 V
1 D3 Diode Bridge .5 A, 600 V
1 Z1 ZENER DIODE, 5.1 V, SOD-123
1 W3 WHITE WIRE 18 AWG
1 W4 RED WIRE 18 AWG

Referring now to FIG. 6, there is shown a schematic of one embodiment of a slave station 300. Table 2, below, is a parts lists corresponding to the schematic shown in FIG. 6.

TABLE 2
Qt Reference Description
1 R1 0603 RESISTOR 5% 1.8K
1 SW1 SPST MOMENTARY TACTILE SWITCH
1 LED1 LED, RED, SURFACE MOUNT
1 WIRE1 BLACK WIRE 18 AWG
1 WIRE2 BLUE WIRE 18 AWG

The following discussion relates to both the master station 302 and the slave station 300 and FIGS. 5 and 6. The basic function is to allow the master station 302 to detect a button press and control the status of an indicator on one or a plurality of slave stations 300. The circuit of each slave station 300 (see FIG. 6) is comprised of a momentary single-pole single-throw switch (SW1) connected in parallel with an appropriately sized resistor (R1) and light emitting diode (LED1). There are two external leads. A black wire (WIRE1) is connected the local line feed, and a blue wire (WIRE2) that is a traveler utilized for control signals. When SW1 is pressed it bypasses R1 and LED1 by shorting WIRE1 and WIRE2 together.

The circuit on the master station 302 detects the difference between a short circuit and the LED/resistor combination on the slave station 300. As shown on the schematic, the positive supply (+5V) for the digital circuitry is connected directly to the local line feed and ground rides at 5V below line potential. This allows for a common potential at both the slave and master stations (300 and 302). The traveler is switched between GND and +5V using the circuitry comprised of R3, R6, R7, R8, D4, Q1-A and Q1-B. There are two control lines (LED Control, Button Detect) that are wired to a microcontroller on the Master station 302. When LED Control is set high, transistor Q1-B is turned on. This pulls the traveler wire to GND, and turns on LED1 on the slave station 300. Setting LED Control low turns Q1-B and LED1 off. D4 and Q1-A are connected in such a way as to set a limit on the total current flowing through Q1-B. The diode junctions from base to emitter of Q1-A and D4 set a fixed voltage level of two diode drops.

If that voltage level is exceeded, then both D4 and Q1-A will begin to conduct. This will happen when enough current is flowing through R7 that the sum of the voltage across R7 and the base-to-emitter voltage of Q1-B exceed the potential required to cause D4 and Q1-A to conduct.

The resistor on each slave station 300 is sized such that it will limit the current to a level below the threshold that would activate the current limiting circuit on the Satellite Dimmer. A plurality of slave stations 300 may be connected in parallel as long as the total current that is drawn when the LEDs are active remains below the threshold to activate the current limiting on the master station 302. This is how control of the indicator is achieved.

Pressing a button on any of the slave stations 300 while the LED is being turned on will short circuit the LED and resistor. This causes Q1-B to conduct as much current as possible and activate the current limiting circuit. Normally, R3 holds the Button Detect line at +5V. When the current limiting circuit is activated due to a button press on a slave station 300, Q1-A conducts and pulls the Button Detect line low.

Through these mechanisms, the microcontroller on the master station 302 can turn on the LED and detect the button press on one or a plurality of slave station 300. It should be noted that the LED must be turned on to detect a button press. The master station 302 periodically turns the LED on for a very short duration (short enough that the LED does not emit a perceptible amount of light) and checks the state of the button, so that the LED is not constantly lit. Also, the line feed and the traveler wire form a transmission line connecting the master station 302 and the slave station 300. This causes a delay between the time when the signal is sent to test the button and when the status is returned due to the speed at which the pulse propagates down the transmission line and back. This may limit the total length of the connection between the master station 302 and the slave station 300, because the LED can only be turned on for a short period of time to prevent it from being illuminated when it is supposed to be off.

In one illustrative embodiment, +5V on the master station 302 is at the same potential as the local line feed which eliminates the need for high voltage isolation. The circuit could be redesigned using opto-isolators or other isolating devices if it is not possible or desirable to connect reference the +5V to line as shown here.

FIGS. 7 and 8 illustrate the schematics of embodiments for a universal power supply to be used with wall mounted dimmer stations. Table 3, below, contains a parts list corresponding to FIGS. 7 and 8.

TABLE 3
QTY TRANSERA Reference Description VALUE
1 VCL-0025 D3 Diode Bridge .5 A, 600 V MB6S
1 VCA-0033 C4 0805 CAPACITOR .1 UF .1 uF
1 VCA-0095 C5 .1 uF 275AC SAFETY TYPE 2 CAPACITOR 0.1 uF
1 VCA-0105 C6 1 uF 400 V 10% POLYESTER UNCOATED CAPACITOR 1 uF
1 VCA-0077 C2 CAPACITOR, SM D 22 uF
1 VCA-0076 C1 CAPACITOR, SM C 22 uF
2 VCL-0002 D1-2 DIODE, SM 4937
1 VCC-0017 X1 FLYBACK TRANSFORMER EFD-15
1 VBH-0013 U2 +5 V LOW DROPOUT REGULATOR, S0T-223 MC33275ST-5.0
1 VBF-0041 U1 OPTO-ISOLATOR, 4-PIN, SM H11A817B
1 VCB-0162 R1 RESISTOR, SM 0805 51
1 VBF-0055 U3 SM LOW POWER OFF-LINE SWITCHER TNY264G
1 VBZ-0026 TVS1 91 V TVS, Through Hole 91 V
1 VCL-0026 Z1 ZENER DIODE, 5.1 V, SOD-123 5.1 V

The illustrative operation of the circuits shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 are as follows.

Line Filtering:

C5 is a high voltage type x safety capacitor. The purpose of C5 is to remove transients caused by the switching circuit from the AC Mains.

Line Rectification:

D3 is a bridge rectifier. This device is used to convert the AC Mains into a rectified volt AC signal.

Holding Capacitor:

C6 is a high voltage capacitor. The function of C6 is to smooth the rectified AC by storing energy in the high voltage regions, and releasing it during low voltage regions.

Fly-Back Transforming:

The Fly-back Transformer (X1), in conjunction with the switching controller (U3), form the fly-back switching, and transforming circuitry. The switching controller (U3) creates a path for energy to flow from the holding capacitor, to the rectified “ground”. This causes a build up of energy in the Transformer (X1). When this voltage nears “Saturation” (the most energy the transformer can hold at one time), the switching controller removes the path for the energy to travel back to ground. This “open” path causes the energy which was stored in the transformer (X1) to “collapse” when this happens an energy pulse is transferred to the “Secondary” side of the transformer. This energy is the useful energy. This energy is then stored, and regulated.

Fly-Back Snubber:

The snubber circuit (TVS1, D2) is used to channel excess energies (created by the primary collapse) back through the transformer. This prevents those very high voltages from causing a fault condition in the “gate” of the switching controller.

Switching Feedback:

U3, Z1, and R1 form the switching feedback circuit. U1 is an optocoupling device uses to control the switching “Mode” of the switching controller. When the voltage being stored in the secondary circuit reaches the reverse breakdown voltage of the Zener diode (Z1), it causes the LED inside U1 to emit light, this light is then used as a trigger to the transistor inside the optocoupler. The transistor then shorts to ground causing the switching controller to stop sending additional energy until the voltage in the secondary falls below the reverse breakdown voltage of Z1, at which time the shorting condition is removed, and the switching controller begins sending more energy. This cycle is continuously repeated, thus keeping the secondary energy to a useable level.

Output Regulation:

C2, U2, and C1 form the output regulation circuit. Together they keep the final output voltage at a set level (lower than the secondary voltage). This voltage is then used to power the low voltage circuitry.

It will be appreciated that the structure and apparatus disclosed herein is merely one example of a means for a universal power supply, and it should be appreciated that any structure, apparatus or system for universal power supply which performs functions the same as, or equivalent to, those disclosed herein are intended to fall within the scope of a means for universal power supply, including those structures, apparatus or systems for universal power supply which are presently known, or which may become available in the future. Anything which functions the same as, or equivalently to, a means for universal power supply falls within the scope of this element.

FIGS. 9B-9D, FIGS. 10A-10D, FIGS. 11A-11C, FIGS. 12A and 12B, FIGS. 13A-13F, and FIGS. 14A-14C illustrate schematics for an exemplary embodiment of a controller. It should be understood that these schematics should not be construed as limiting, and that those skilled in the art will recognize that many different designs will fall within the scope of the present invention.

Table 4, below, contains a parts list corresponding to FIGS. 10A-10D.

TABLE 4
QTY VANTAGE # REFERENCE DESCRIPTION VALUE
7 DNI J1-J7 DNI
1 DNI J9 2x8 DUAL HEADER DNI
2 DNI J11 J12 DNI
1 DNI L2 Inductor DNI
3 DNI R1 R39 R40 0603 SM RESISTOR DNI
4 DNI R41-44 0603 SM RESISTOR DNI
1 DNI RF1 RF Daughterboard DNI
1 DNI RN2 2 RESISTOR 0603 SM NETWORK DNI
2 DNI RN10 RN12 4 RESISTOR 0603 SM NETWORK DNI
1 DNI SW1 SWITCH, DPST VERTICAL DNI
4 VBZ-0008 TS11-14 TRANSIENT VOLTAGE SUPPRESSOR DNI
1 VAA-0026 U1 SCHMITT-TRIGGER INVERTER 74HC1G14
1 VAB-0019 U7 Microcontroller 68340
2 VAC-0003 U5 U8 SRAM 128Kx8 K6X1008
1 VAC-0009 U6 AMD or Intel Flash 8M-32M 28F800
1 VAD-0004 U9 64 macro FPGA for PQFP package XC5202
2 VAZ-0001 U12-13 Dual Comparator LM393
1 VBF-0012 Q4 N-Channel MosFET 2N7002
1 VBF-0013 Q2 PNP TRANSISTOR
1 VBF-0016 Q6 NPN SIGNAL TRANSISTOR 2N4401
1 VBF-0017 Q3 PNP Small Signal Transistor
1 VBF-0023 Q5 23 A 60 V P-chan MosFet T0-220 MTP23P06V
1 VBF-0037 Q1 Dual N-Channel MosFets IRF7103
1 VBH-0011 U11 NATIONAL 260 kHz 5 V SWITCHING REG. 500 mA
1 VBH-0019 VR1 3.3 V Regulator SOT23-5
1 VBH-0022 VR2 LDO LINEAR REG. SOT-223 LM2937-12
1 VBI-0003 U2 Dual UART with FIFO PC16552D
1 VBI-0005 U10 DIFFERENTIAL TRANSCEIVER MAX1487
1 VBI-0009 U3 RS-232 TRANSCEIVER DS14C238
1 VBZ-0003 TS2 TRANSIENT VOLTAGE SUPPRESSOR 5.6 V
8 VBZ-0008 TS3-10 TRANSIENT VOLTAGE SUPPRESSOR 14 V
1 VBZ-0023 TS1 TVS 1500 W SMC 30 V
10 VCA-0039 C1-4 C8-9 C19 0805 SM CAPACITOR 1 uF
C27 C32 C34
19 VCA-0043 C5-7 C12-13 0603 SM CAPACITOR .1 uF
C15-18 C20-24
C26 C28 C30
C33 C35
3 VCA-0054 C10-11 C14 0603 SM CAPACITOR 47 pF
1 VCA-0061 C29 0603 SM CAPACITOR .01 uF
1 VCA-0080 C31 0603 SM CAPACITOR .1 uF
1 VCA-0097 C25 SIZE D TANTALUM 22 uF/35 V
2 VCB-0023 RN6 RN11 2 RESISTOR SM NETWORK 4.7K
1 VCB-0119 R3 2010 SM RESISTOR 5.1
4 VCB-0133 R2 R4 R7-8 0603 SM RESISTOR 1K
5 VCB-0134 R13 R15 R17 0603 SM RESISTOR 10K
R26 R35
7 VCB-0135 R9-10 R16 R18 0603 SM RESISTOR 4.7K
R20-21 R38
1 VCB-0141 R5 0603 SM RESISTOR 680
9 VCB-0143 R12 R27-34 0603 SM RESISTOR 100
2 VCB-0165 RN3 RN4 4 RESISTOR 0603 SM NETWORK 1K
1 VCB-0166 RN9 4 RESISTOR 0603 SM NETWORK 4.7K
5 VCB-0170 RN1 RN5 RN7-8 4 RESISTOR 0603 SM NETWORK 2.2K
RN13
1 VCB-0188 R11 2010 SM RESISTOR 22 ohm
1 VCB-0216 R19 0603 SM RESISTOR 1 Meg
2 VCB-0221 R22-23 Resistor 2512 5% 0.5
1 VCB-0225 R24 2010 RESISTOR 5% 2.2K
1 VCB-0230 R36 0603 SM RESISTOR 3.3K
1 VCB-0231 R25 0603 SM RESISTOR 180
2 VCB-0242 R6 R14 0603 SM RESISTOR 5.1
1 VCC-0022 L1 Inductor 100 uH
1 VCI-0006 R37 PTC Fuse 200 mA
1 VCI-0010 F1 RESETTABLE PTC 3 A 30 V
1 VCK-0008 Y1 OSCILLATOR 14.746 MHz
5 VCL-0007 CR1-4 CR6 DUAL HEAD-TO-TAIL DIODE PACKAGE DAN217
1 VCL-0019 CR7 SIGNAL DIODE 1N4148
1 VCL-0021 CR5 Schottky Diode DL5818
1 VDC-0024 J10 HEADER, BERG STICK .100 SPACING 1x6
1 VDC-0175 B1 COIN BATTERY RETAINER Retainer
1 VDC-0189 J8 40 PIN CONNECTOR 2x20
1 VDC-0244 J14 28 PIN MALE HEADER PEG28SR
1 VDC-0245 J13 .156 SPACING HEADER 640445-4
1 VFB-0005 B1 3 V BATTERY 3 V Battery
1 VFC-0005 T1 PCA Pulse Transformer
1 VSUB138-B U4 VAD-0009 64 Macrocell CPLD-VQFP44

Table 5, below, contains a parts list corresponding to FIGS. 11A-11C.

TABLE 5
QTY VANTAGE # REFERENCE DESCRIPTION VALUE
1 DNI C10 Y1 SAFETY CAPACITOR 2200 pF DNI
1 DNI U2 OPTO-TRANSISTOR, 4-PIN, SMT DNI
1 DNI U1 LOW POWER OFF-LINE SWITCHER DNI
1 DNI TVS1 220 V Tvs DNI
1 DNI C16 CAPACITOR, SM 0805 DNI
1 DNI C12 CAPACITOR SM 0805 DNI
2 DNI C13 C15 Electrolytic Cap. 10 uF 400 V DNI
2 DNI C3 C14 Electrolytic Cap.LOW ESR. DNI
1 DNI R14 RESISTOR, SM 0805 DNI
1 DNI T8 FLYBACK TRANSFORMER DNI
1 DNI L2 FERRITE BEAD, 180 OHM, 1.5 A DNI
2 DNI D1 D3 Diode - MELF, 600 V DNI
1 DNI D2 RECTIFIER 1 AMP SM DNI
1 DNI Z4 ZENER DIODE, 15 V SOD-123 DNI
4 VBZ-0030 Z1-3 Z5 MOV SURGE ABSORBER 275VAC
6 VCA-0080 C4-9 CAPACITOR, SM 0603 0.1 uF
6 VCB-0133 R7-12 RESISTOR, SM 0603 1K
6 VCB-0134 R1-6 RESISTOR, SM 0603 10K
1 VCC-0016 T1 COMMON-MODE CHOKE MTC66012-04
6 VCL-0007 CR2-7 DUAL HEAD-TO-TAIL DIODE DAN217
6 VDA-0079 W0-5 CURRENT SENSE WIRE 5.25”
1 VDC-0145 J55 2x6 HEADER .100 DUAL ENTRY 2x6
1 VDC-0263 J5 CONNECTOR, 3 PIN .156 SPACING
6 VFC-0008 T2-7 Current Sense Transformer XFMR-1689
4 VMDIF009 J1-4 Stab connector 1021 .250 MALE CON-1021

Table 6, below, contains a parts list corresponding to FIGS. 12A and 12B.

TABLE 6
QTY VANTAGE # REFERENCE DESCRIPTION VALUE
1 DNI J1 9-pin female DSUB-Edge Mount DNI
1 VAA-0016 U3 Single Gate Tri-State Buffer 74V1G125
1 VAZ-0002 U1 RTC with uP supervisor & RAM BQ4845
1 VBI-0009 U2 RS-232 TRANSCEIVER DS14C238
2 VCA-0043 C2-3 CAPACITOR, SM 0603 .1 uF/25 V
6 VCA-0110 C1 C4-8 CAPACITOR, SM 0603 1 uF/16 V
2 VCB-0133 R1-2 RESISTOR, SM 0603 1K
1 VCK-0017 Y1 CRYSTAL, SM 32.768 KHz
1 VDC-0116 J3 10 PIN 2-ROW HEADER .100
1 VDC-0191 J2 40 PIN CONNECTOR

Table 7, below, contains a parts list corresponding to FIGS. 13A-13F.

TABLE 7
QTY VANTAGE # REFERENCE DESCRIPTION VALUE
1 DNI U1 RF Daughterboard Coax RevB DNI
1 DNI J4 40 PIN CONNECTOR - proto ony DNI
1 DNI J3 HEADER2 DNI
2 DNI U15 U17 RS232 LEVEL SHIFTER DNI
1 DNI Q14 NPN SIGNAL TRANSISTOR DNI
1 DNI Q15 PNP SIGNAL TRANSISTOR DNI
1 DNI CR10 Diode Bridge .5 A DNI
1 DNI C68 CAPACITOR DNI
3 DNI C70-72 SM CAPACITOR 0603 DNI
1 DNI CR1 DUAL HEAD-TO-TAIL DIODE DNI
1 DNI CR7 DOIDE, SMA DNI
1 DNI Q16 P Channel mosfet DNI
1 DNI U19 Dual Comparator DNI
1 DNI VR5 Adjustable Voltage Regulator DNI
2 DNI U14 U21 Fast Opto-Transistor 1 us DNI
1 DNI J7 2-Pin Terminal Block Header DNI
1 DNI R23 SM RESISTOR 1206 DNI
7 DNI R19-20 R22 SM RESISTOR 0603 DNI
R24-25 R28 R32
1 DNI R21 SM RESISTOR 1206 DNI
2 DNI RN34 RN38 4 Resistor SM Network 0603 DNI
3 DNI R12, R14, R15 SM RESISTOR 0603 DNI
1 DNI TVS25 TVS 600 W SMB DNI
1 DNI U22 Single Gate 2-Input OR Gate DNI
1 VAA-0010 U6 HEX SCHMITT-TRIGGER INVERTER 74HCT14
2 VAA-0018 U13 U20 Power Logic 8 bit Latch TPIC6B259
2 VAA-0036 U2 U12 OCTAL TRI-STATE BUFFER 74HCT244
2 VAB-0036 U16 U18 RS232 LEVEL SHIFTER RS-232
1 VAB-0044 U8 16 bit Microprocessor VAB-0044 3028
1 VAC-0003 U4 128k × 8 SRAM
1 VAD-0012 U11 FPGA TQ144
1 VAZ-0009 U3 RESET W/WATCHDOG AND EEPROM X5043
3 VBA-0003 U5 U7 U10 QUAD Single Supply OP AMP LM324
12 VBF-0012 Q1-12 N-Channel MosFET 2N7002
1 VBF-0013 Q17 transistor
1 VBF-0016 Q13 NPN SIGNAL TRANSISTOR 2N4401
1 VBH-0011 VR3 260 KHz 5.0 V SWITCHING REG. 5 V
1 VBH-0023 VR4 Low Dropout Linear Regulator 3.3 V
1 VBH-0026 VR2 12 V SWITCHING 269 KHz REG. 12 V
1 VBH-0031 VR1 Adjustable linear LDO REG. 1.8 V
36 VBZ-0007 TVS1-24 TVS Uni-directional 6.8 V
TVS26-29
TVS34-37
TVS42-45
8 VBZ-0008 TVS30-33 BIDIRECTIONAL TVS 14 V
TVS38-41
3 VCA-0002 C24 C57 C73 SM CAPACITOR 0603 10 uF
1 VCA-0003 C39 CAPACITOR 56 uF
14 VCA-0061 C10 C28 C42-45 SM CAPACITOR 0603 .01 uF
C48-55
8 VCA-0078 C2-3 C5 C22 SM CAPACITOR 0603 1 uF
C46-47 C74-75
49 VCA-0080 C1 C4 C6-9 SM CAPACITOR 0603 0.1 uF
C11-21 C23
C25-27 C29-38
C40-41 C56
C58-67 C69
C76-79
2 VCA-0097 C80-81 CAPACITOR 22 uF/35 V
1 VCB-0032 R26 SM RESISTOR 1206 5.1
2 VCB-0133 R27 R31 SM RESISTOR 0603 1K
2 VCB-0134 R2 R8 SM RESISTOR 0603 10K
4 VCB-0135 R1 R4 R18 R29 SM RESISTOR 0603 4.7K
3 VCB-0137 R11, R13, R16 SM RESISTOR 0603 0
1 VCB-0143 R30 SM RESISTOR 0603 100
6 VCB-0165 RN19 RN26 RN28 4 Resistor SM Network 0603 1K
RN32-33 RN35
22 VCB-0166 RN1-8 RN10-18 4 Resistor SM Network 0603 4.7k
RN25 RN27
RN39-41
2 VCB-0168 RN36-37 4 Resistor SM Network 0603 180
2 VCB-0171 RN20-21 4 Resistor SM Network 0603 8.2k
1 VCB-0199 R10 SM RESISTOR 0603 12
1 VCB-0200 R3 SM RESISTOR 0603 2.2K
1 VCB-0202 R7 SM RESISTOR 0603 33
1 VCB-0203 R17 SM RESISTOR 0603 470
6 VCB-0205 RN22-24 4 Resistor SM Network 0603 47
RN29-31
1 VCB-0217 R9 SM RESISTOR 0603 1.5K
2 VCB-0223 R5-6 SM RESISTOR 0603 220
2 VCC-0022 L1-2 Coilcraft SMT power inductor 100 uH
6 VCF-0003 K1-6 DPDT SM Relay TX2-L2
1 VCG-0027 SW2 SWITCH, SLIDE DPDT, PC MTG
2 VCG-0028 SW3-4 10 POSITION ROT SWITCH ROTDIP
1 VCG-0029 SW1 RA MOMENTARY SPST SWITCH
1 VCK-0013 X1 CERAMIC RESONATOR WITH CAPS 20 MHz
7 VCL-0007 CR2-6 CR8-9 DUAL HEAD-TO-TAIL DIODE DAN217
2 VCL-0021 D1-2 ZENER DIODE 30 V
1 VDC-0140 J2 34-Pin Male Header 2x17
1 VDC-0146 J5 2x6 .1 pitch Male Header 2X6
1 VDC-0239 J6 40 PIN FEMALE SOCKET 2X20
2 VDC-0240 J10-11 10-Pin Terminal Block Header 2x5
2 VDC-0241 J8-9 12-Pin Terminal Block Header 2x6
1 VDC-0242 J12 4-Pin Terminal Block Header 2x2
1 VDC-0243 J1 Socket - Right Angle 28 pin 2x28
1 VSUB171-A U9 Flash 8 Mbit 3 V 29W800

Table 8, below, contains a parts list corresponding to FIGS. 14A-14C.

TABLE 8
REFER-
QTY VANTAGE # ENCE DESCRIPTION VALUE
3 VCA-0092 C1-3 CAPACITOR, TH 0.1 uF
18 VDC-0110 J7-24 3.5 mm Vertical LJE-0352-3RT
Phono Jack
1 VDC-0262 J25 40 PIN MALE 2x20
CONNECTOR
1 VMRA006 F1 RESETABLE FUSE RT250-120

Those having ordinary skill in the relevant art will appreciate the advantages provided by the features of the present invention. For example, it is a feature of the present invention to provide a complete home automation system. Another feature of the present invention to provide such a low cost means for retrofitting a three-way switch with an automation system. It is a further feature of the present invention, in accordance with one aspect thereof, to provide a universal power supply for wall mounted dimmers.

It is to be understood that the above-described arrangements are only illustrative of the application of the principles of the present invention. Numerous modifications and alternative arrangements may be devised by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention and the appended claims are intended to cover such modifications and arrangements. Thus, while the present invention has been shown in the drawings and described above with particularity and detail, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that numerous modifications, including, but not limited to, variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use may be made without departing from the principles and concepts set forth herein.

Claims (37)

1. A control apparatus comprising:
an integrated controller having an antenna, an IR receiver, at least one IR output and a current sensing outlet;
the antenna configured to send RF control signals to at least a first station, the first station connected to at least a first electrical device;
the IR receiver configured to receive IR control signals from a remote;
the at least one IR output configured to pass the IR signals received by the IR receiver to at least a second electrical device;
the current sensing outlet configured to sense when an attached third electrical device is drawing current;
wherein the first electrical device is controlled by RF control signals sent by the antenna to the first station, and the second electrical device is controlled by IR signals sent by the at least one IR output;
wherein the integrated controller is programmed to send a RF control signal to the first station upon sensing a change of state of the third electrical device attached to the current sensing outlet;
wherein the first station includes a first dimmer means and the first electrical device is a first light; and
wherein upon sensing that power to the third electrical device attached to the current sensing outlet has been turned on, the integrated controller is programmed to send a RF control signal to the first station to dim the first light.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the integrated controller further includes at least one RS-232 port, the at least one RS-232 port configured to provide two way communication with an input device.
3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the integrated controller further includes at least one IR input, the at least one IR input configured to connect to an external IR receiver.
4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the integrated controller further includes at least one low voltage relay, the at least one low voltage relay configured to send a control signal to a second station having a controller for an electric motor; and
wherein the integrated controller is programmed to send a control signal via the at least one low voltage relay to the second station upon sensing a change of state of the third electrical device attached to the current sensing outlet; and
wherein upon sensing that power to the third electrical device attached to the current sensing outlet has been turned on, the integrated controller is programmed to send a control signal via the at least one low voltage relay to the second station to activate the electric motor to open or close a shade or blind.
5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the integrated controller further includes at least one contact input, the at least one contact input configured to receive data from a fourth electrical device, said data actuating one of the first, second, third or fourth electrical devices.
6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the integrated controller further includes a bus outlet, said bus outlet: (i) connected to a second station, and (ii) configured to send a control signal to the second station, the second station connected to a fourth electrical device;
wherein upon sensing a change of state of the third electrical device attached to the current sensing outlet, the integrated controller is programmed to send a control signal via the bus outlet to the second station.
7. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein the second station includes a controller for an electric motor; and
wherein upon sensing that power to the third electrical device attached to the current sensing outlet has been turned on, the integrated controller is programmed to send a control signal via the bus outlet to the second station to activate the electric motor to open or close a shade or blind.
8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the integrated controller further includes an LCD display.
9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the integrated controller further includes a status indicator for the at least one IR output.
10. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the integrated controller further includes a computing means for tracking real time and astronomical time.
11. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the RF control signals are transmitted using a digital spread frequency.
12. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein the RF control signals are transmitted using frequency hopping.
13. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the RF control signals are transmitted at about 900 MHZ.
14. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the antenna is configured to receive an RF control signal.
15. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein the first station is capable of transmitting an RF control signal to the antenna.
16. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the integrated controller further includes: (i) at least one low voltage relay, the at least one low voltage relay configured to send a control signal to a second station connected to a fourth electrical device, and (ii) a bus outlet connected to a third station, the bus outlet configured to send a control signal to the third station, the third station connected to a fifth electrical device;
wherein upon sensing a change of state of the third electrical device attached to the current sensing outlet, the integrated controller is programmed to send a control signal: (i) via the at least one low voltage relay to the second station, and (ii) via the bus outlet to the third station.
17. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the second station includes a controller for an electric motor;
wherein the third station includes a second dimmer means and the fifth electrical device is a second light;
wherein upon sensing that power to the third electrical device attached to the current sensing outlet has been turned on, the integrated controller is programmed to send a control signal: (i) via the at least one low voltage relay to the second station to activate the electric motor to open or close a shade or blind, and (ii) via the bus outlet to the third station to dim the second light.
18. A control system comprising:
an integrated controller, said integrated controller having an antenna configured to receive and send RF transmissions, said integrated controller further including a current sensing outlet, a bus outlet, an IR receiver and an IR output, said IR output in communication with at least a first electrical device;
at least a first station in communication with the antenna, the first station controlling power from a power supply to at least a second electrical device connected to the first station, the first station having an antenna to send and receive RF transmissions;
a remote for sending IR signals to the IR receiver, said IR signals passing from the IR receiver to at least the first electrical device;
the current sensing outlet configured to sense when an attached third electrical device is drawing current;
the bus outlet connected to a second station, the bus outlet configured to send a control signal to the second station, the second station connected to a fourth electrical device;
wherein the second electrical device connected to the first station is controlled by RF control signals sent from the integrated controller and the first electrical device is controlled by IR control signals sent by the IR output;
wherein the first station includes a first dimmer means and the second electrical device is a first light;
wherein the second station includes a first controller for a first electric motor; and
wherein upon sensing that power to the third electrical device attached to the current sensing outlet has been turned on, the integrated controller is programmed to: (i) send a RF control signal to the first station to dim the first light, and (ii) send a control signal via the bus outlet to the second station to activate the first electric motor to open or close a shade or blind.
19. The system of claim 18 wherein the integrated controller further includes at least one low voltage relay, the at least one low voltage relay configured to send a control signal to a third station having a fifth electrical device; and
wherein upon sensing that power to the third electrical device attached to the current sensing outlet has been turned on, the integrated controller is programmed to send a control signal via the at least one low voltage relay to the third station.
20. The system of claim 19 wherein the third station includes a second controller for a second electric motor; and
wherein upon sensing that power to the third electrical device attached to the current sensing outlet has been turned on, the integrated controller is programmed to send a control signal via the at least one low voltage relay to the third station to activate the second electric motor to open or close a shade or blind.
21. The system of claim 18 wherein the integrated controller further includes an RS-232 port.
22. The system of claim 18 wherein the integrated controller further includes contact inputs.
23. The system of claim 18 wherein the integrated controller further includes an LCD display.
24. The system of claim 18 wherein the integrated controller further includes a battery backup.
25. A control apparatus comprising;
an integrated controller having an IR receiver; at least one IR output; a current sensing outlet; and a bus outlet;
a remote for sending IR signals to the IR receiver, the IR signals passing from the IR receiver to at least a first electrical device in communication with the at least one IR output;
the current sensing outlet configured to sense when an attached second electrical device is drawing current;
the bus outlet connected to a first station, the bus outlet configured to send a control signal to the first station, the first station connected to a third electrical device;
wherein the first electrical device is controlled by IR control signal sent by the at least one IR output;
wherein the first station includes a first dimmer means and the third electrical device is a light; and
wherein upon sensing that power to the second electrical device attached to the current sensing outlet has been turned on, the integrated controller is programmed to send a control signal via the bus outlet to the first station to dim the light.
26. A control apparatus comprising:
an integrated controller, the integrated controller having an antenna configured to receive and send RF transmissions, the integrated controller further including a current sensing outlet, a bus outlet, a low voltage relay, an IR receiver and an IR output, the IR output in communication with at least a first electrical device;
at least a first station in communication with the antenna, the first station connected to at least a second electrical device;
a remote for sending IR signals to the IR receiver, said IR signals passing from the IR receiver to at least the first electrical device;
the current sensing outlet configured to sense when an attached third electrical device is drawing current;
the bus outlet connected to a second station, the bus outlet configured to send a control signal to the second station, the second station connected to a fourth electrical device;
the low voltage relay configured to send a control signal to a third station connected to a fifth electrical device;
wherein the second electrical device connected to the first station is controlled by RF control signals sent from the integrated controller and the first electrical device is controlled by IR control signals sent by the at least one IR output;
wherein the first station includes a first dimmer means and the second electrical device is a first light;
wherein the second station includes a second dimmer means and the fourth electrical device is a second light;
wherein the third station includes a controller for an electric motor;
wherein upon sensing that power to the third electrical device attached to the current sensing outlet has been turned on, the integrated controller is programmed to: (i) send a RF control signal to the first station to dim the first light, (ii) send a control signal via the bus outlet to the second station to dim the second light, and (iii) send a control signal via the low voltage relay to the third station to activate the electric motor to open or close a shade or blind.
27. The apparatus of claim 26, wherein the integrated controller further includes at least one RS-232 port, the at least one RS-232 port configured to provide two way communication with an input device.
28. The apparatus of claim 26, wherein the integrated controller further includes at least one IR input, the at least one IR input configured to connect to an external IR receiver.
29. The apparatus of claim 26, wherein the integrated controller further includes at least one contact input, the at least one contact input configured to receive data from an external device, said data actuating one of the first, second, third, fourth or fifth electrical devices.
30. The apparatus of claim 26, wherein the integrated controller further includes an LCD display.
31. The apparatus of claim 26, wherein the integrated controller further includes a status indicator for the IR output.
32. The apparatus of claim 26, wherein the integrated controller further includes a computing means for tracking real time and astronomical time.
33. The apparatus of claim 26, wherein the integrated controller further includes a battery backup.
34. The apparatus of claim 26, wherein the RF control signals are transmitted using a digital spread frequency.
35. The apparatus of claim 34, wherein the RF control signals are transmitted using frequency hopping.
36. The apparatus of claim 26, wherein the RF control signals are transmitted at about 900 MHZ.
37. The apparatus of claim 26, wherein each station is configured to transmit RF control signals to the antenna.
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